Monday, August 27, 2007

Astrological Nuisance

In continuation from my previous post where I had gone home for the weekend...

But anyway, this isnt about my deep rooted lack of self esteem. Its more of an observation on culture at large. Because on this trip home, I met, for the first time, with a sooth-sayer. Ya, ok, so he's an astrologer, but isnt that what they all are? Nostradamuses who foretell your personal future with just date of birth and time of birth as inputs. Oracles who move around some little shells over a square board, placing them at random and then listing out what u can and cannot achieve in your lifetime. The same people who sent those 300 horome crazies from Sparta with wash-board abs to their doom... Or the weird looking guy who sent Bill and Ted on their excellent adventure (but ofcourse, he was from the future). For me, he was a rather paunchy 50 year old with black wire-frame glasses and some sandal-wood paste smeared on his forehead. He also was a certified astrologer - A certificate from the All India Astrologers association was prominently displayed on the wall behind his desk. It showed that he had passed the astrology exam in flying colors. I wondered about the exam. I wondred if he probably had foreseen the questions beforehand, or maybe the examiner had given him a blank paper and asked him to write down the questions which they wanted to ask!!
Anyway, My visit was pretty much just a courtesy because my parents had got some work done by the guy and wanted me to settle accounts. But the dude was so wound up, that the moment he got me, he.. 'unleashed hell' - to quote maximus. The offensive was pretty strong and it lasted about 2 hours during which he sought to shake me up.. metaphysically speaking. He fired off 'to do' lists like an assault rifle at 500 rounds per minute. He rambled on about life and its meaning and how people ought to live it. He talked about everything under the sun. About prayer, and visiting temples and understanding god. To top it all, he also gave me free sex advice. "Dont watch porn", he said. "That's not real." (You got that right buddy...). "Nobody can be that big", he said. "At least not in India." (Really? That sure is informative!) "Dont do it from behind." What??? Hang on dude... That sure is like the most irrelevant and so-not-what-I-want-hear advise ever. All I am currently aiming not to be, is that 40 yr old virgin type. So right now, my only area of interest is in getting some. Period. Once I am over that hurdle, I'll worry about my technique... Wat the hell?
There were many other myraid points which he made after that but I was lost in the thought that this was taking too long and there were other relatives I needed to impress with my lack of social skills! I think he noticed when my eyes glazed over, after about an hour of me not listening, and quickly wound up the session. He also gave me some quickies about what phase of life I was in currently, and how the alignment of the stars was ruining my social scene. I nodded wisely deep in the thought that, finally he was right. You know its hopeless when the entire universe is conspiring against you...
After this, he took the money and let me leave. Phew.. that was something I dont want to go through again.

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Social ineptitude

I went home last weekend. It was one of my bi-monthly trips in my role as 'the caretaker'. I go to a home which is empty (of people, not stuff) and get the local help to clean up the place. I also take out the family car, like an animal that had been leashed for the past two months, and give it a run around so that it doesn't get... rusted? Whatever. I thought these trips would be good for me. More time for myself, and also to keep in touch with the extended family. But somehow, I don't seem to identify much with there, at least, not as much as I want to.
The usual modus operandi in these visits is I check out the house, and I do some bank related activities. Post these, I also meet the relatives. Its usually perfunctory meet and greet sessions timed (by me) to last 15-30 minutes before departing with some vague apology about having to clean the house or meet other people. Its not that I don't care about them, but its that I am usually at a loss for words in such social circumstances. My main failing I think in my ambition to be a smooth talking, wise cracking, all knowing sort of guy is that I don't talk much. I think I am better on the all knowing part. Anyway,I think the main failing on my part is my inability to associate with the regular banter of such meetings. This has to do with the following general concept I think is valid in such scenarios. The key ingredient to maintaining good ties in the family circle is knowing what each relative is doing. But this is where I come across as a dud. I just don't remember where my father's brother's wife's third cousin is these days or which uncle's second son got married or any of that stuff. So, mostly, whenever my loquacious relatives try to stir me into conversation by mentioning these people who I cant for the life of me remember... I smile and nod vigorously hoping that was the intended acknowledgment. It usually back fires, coz then they clam up and give knowing looks to each other like I did something cardinally wrong. Gosh, its hard! I never know when I might have accidentally done something which is not part of the social etiquette, and I keep worrying about it. My inability to shine in such social circumstances usually compounds my despair about my rather Neanderthal-like social skills with the rest of the world. "I Anand, I like this only... u like? No? Ok. Boink!".

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Saturday, August 4, 2007

Cynical Goat-ism

I am a cynic. I look at the world through the tinted glasses of a cynic. And it looks pretty blue to me. People don't like cynics coz cynics make fun of stupid people. They act all high and mighty and look like they know everything. To be honest, a cynic generally does. :-)

Being a cynic is actually easy. You put on a frown, or a general smirk on your face, and criticize everything. And in doing so, cynics generally irritate people. Its not intentional, but it happens. Mostly because cynics tend to blame everybody else for what's wrong with the world, while they themselves don't do anything to improve the situation. True. But its not easy being a cynic if you are stupid. The light's gotta be on upstairs for being a cynic coz or else u've got be like Forrest Gump.... 'Run Forrest, Run!"

Cynics are the irritating buggers in the movies who'll constantly ridicule the choices the hero makes, or the inspiring rhetoric he makes, and obviously get killed/eaten/turned into a zombie at some point in the movie. This obviously allows our hero to cry out in anguish, "Why him/her? Why not me instead?", thus establishing his dashing persona and his penchant for self-sacrifice. Bah! Humbug!

In my opinion, being a cynic is more of a choice of self-preservation, forget self-sacrifice. Life is full of low lifes who'll fleece the lint out of your smelly sock if they could and trust me when i say, trust is truly overrated these days.

There are certain things that really get my goat, cynical goat that is.

1.) Shit happens and it generally happens to you - No matter how many ways I look at this, I can never understand/explain how this happens.

2.) Only the beautiful survive - Andrew Grove was wrong. It ain't the paranoid. Its the good looking. If you look good, then you're half way there. Ugly people have to do so much more to get to the same level as good looking people. In fact, some times, its just better to not try.

3.) Talk the talk and you dont need to walk the walk - Oh yes... forget about actually having to workif you can "power shmooze" your way through life. Networking is all that's required these days, and I dont mean the orkut kind. Not only does it boost your career, it helps you get the women too. Woe betide the tongue tied...

4.) Taste is directly proportional to waist - Whatever tastes good, adds to your waist. And more the taste, the less proportional your waist will be!

5.) There's no absolute - I dont mean the vodka (because then i would say, there's never enough Absolut!). I mean, in general things are always grey and life is never black or white. This can sometimes be a good thing, but making decisions becomes infinitely more harder.

There's always more things in life to complain about and I guess this would end up being a pretty big post. But I wanted to start off on my metaphysical ranting. Now, I can come back later and pick up from where I left off. There'll be more posts on the Cynical Goat... But this one's over. And it doesnt have a link at the end!